The purpose of the project ECl: From A to Z is to contribute to the development of competences and skills in higher education systems. The formal curricula provides higher education students with the basic framework to develop their professional activities, but in general they do not take into account the need to promote civic engagement and participation in several spheres of public life.
This project aims to fill in this gap and provide a structured offer within the participant organisations that allow for the development of civic engagement and participation skills within a Higher Education environment. This will constitute a life-long experience that will accompany students for the rest of their lives and provide them with tools that they can and probably will use in their path to an ever-increasing active and inclusive citizenship.
The instrument of the European Citizens' initiative established in Treaty of the European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union is a field of excellence for this engagement and participation to take place since it involves procedures and mechanisms that have a defined scope and purpose and where participants can understand the relevance of their arguments, proposals and activities. Also it furthers the bettering of the European Union through critical thought and leads to more open policies and legislation.
The core purpose of the project is to develop new methods and tools for learning processes that are to be applied in a collaborative and practical way (learning by doing) in which students are the co-constitutive creators of their own European Citizens initiative. At the final parts of this project (that is divided generally in two parts, each with a different group of students) students will understand the relevance of their participation within the European Union, will be able to recognise and apply participatory instruments and use them in a argumentative and technically sound way, and evaluate the goals and, so far, the effects of the ECl.
Therefore besides sharing knowledges about the ECl, this project will promote collaboration and inclusiveness as well as it will help finding and defining subjects of common concern in European Union "extremes".
The organisation of a wide number, scope and relevance of intellectual deliverables and of learning teaching and training activities - all of them integrated into a well-oiled system of outputs, that will be disseminated online and offline - is the central part of the project. The combination of diverse processes and methodologies such as peer-learning, courses on ECl and Models ECl, allow for a constant effort and engagement on the project both from researchers/tutors and from students. Many of the outputs will outlive the project and stay available according to an open-access policy, multiplying even more the impact of the project.
The project ECl: From A to Z aims to involve:
- Students directly committed to the project, given the possibility to experience a new instrument and methodology with colleagues from other backgrounds and universities;
- Other Students and persons that wish to participate more actively in public life and that will have the basic knowledges and tools to do so;
- Researchers and tutors, whose teaching, coaching and social skills will be highly augmented by the general concept of the project and by the several activities and outputs it entails;
- Other Researchers and tutors who might feel motivated by the project and replicate it in their Higher Education Institutions;
- Stakeholders that will be involved during the project or that will be touched by it in their areas of activity (for instance, by one or more of the topics chosen by the students to be subject of an ECI);
- The legislative and political actors, that will have contact with the project and may use it as a platform of discussion on their own strategies and activities;
- The community of European Union Citizens since this project will raise the bar in what regards participation within the European Union, leaving behind a trail of activities and outputs (on-line and on paper) that will continue to stimulate the expression of opinions and the active participatory abilities of youth.